Monday, October 1, 2012

Daily Bible Reading: 1 Maccabees 14 and 1 John 4-5

1 Maccabees 14 – It is 140-139 BC, and Demetrius II, whose home-base is now the city of Seleucia [on the west bank of the Tigris River right at the point where the Tigris and Euphrates converge]. He ventures into Media to get help. The king of Persia, Mithridates I (called Arsaces VI here), defeats him and takes him captive.

There follows a peon of praise to Simon, some of which is here:
“He sought the good of his nation . . .
                        He enlarged the frontiers of his nation. . .
                        The elders sat at ease in the streets,
                        all their talk was of their prosperity. . .
                        He established peace in the land,
                        and Israel knew great joy.
                        Each man sat under his own vine and fig tree,
                        and there was no one to make them afraid” (14:4-12).

The Romans and Spartans write to Simon to renew their agreements that they concluded with Judas and Jonathan. And Simon sends a gift with an envoy back to confirm the terms.

In recognition of Simon’s work, the people make an inscription on bronze tablets and set them up on Mount Zion. A copy of the text is written here. They praise his use of his own wealth to help the nation; his fortification of the cities of Joppa and Gezer, his founding of Jewish settlements, his rooting out of the pagans from the City of David and the honors conferred on him by Demetrius.

His roles as high-priest, military commissioner and Ethnarch of the Jews is acknowledged.

1 John 4 – John says that while we are to live by God’s spirit in us, it is not always easy to discern that spirit from other spirits – there ARE other spirits and there are “many false prophets, now, in the world. You can tell the spirits that come from God by this: every spirit which acknowledges that Jesus the Christ has come in the flesh is from God; but any spirit which will not say this of Jesus is not from God, but is the spirit of Antichrist, whose coming you were warned about” (4:2-3).

The spirits that “speak the language of the world” are the spirits that the world listens to. The main thing we are called to do is love one another. “God is love” (4:8).  “Love will come to its perfection is us when we can face the day of Judgment without fear” (4:17). 

1 John 5 - There are three witnesses to Christ – “the Spirit, the water and the blood” of Christ. “This is the testimony: God has given us eternal life and this life is in his Son; anyone who has the Son has life, anyone who does not have the Son does not have life” (5:11-12).

John is confident “that if we ask him for anything, and it is in accordance with his will, he will hear us; and, knowing that whatever we may ask, he hears us” (5:15). And we can pray for God to hear the needs of others as well.

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